Articles of the year 2008

Saving Us from Ourselves
Published on December 2008

The time has come for Musharraf to make that one move that will place him above any of his predecessors. And that is, the restoration of the Judiciary to its pre-November 3 state. In one small step he will have given the country—hope. Something that has been missing for the last one year- Hope- that there is someone who will listen to their pleas, and whose performance has made other judges take notice.

Judge Chaudri was performing a service that should normally have been done by the Parliament, but the Assemblies took upon themselves a different agenda, that of protecting their own perks, and helping themselves copiously from the bottomless funds of the treasury, not realizing that these funds should not be taken away from the truly deserving. Judge Chaudri, by his moves, had upset the establishment, the bureaucrats, and anyone whose performance was about to be Suo Moto'd by him. The move by the then Prime Minister in raising the missing persons list and the objections of the Intelligence chiefs was the excuse put forward, acted upon, and resulting in the present lowest popular support for Musharraf, which was on a high after his triumphal visit to the US in '06 (remember his 'In the line of fire'). When people stood in line for signatures on their copies. I got mine through a friend of a friend. Yet by March, with his removal of the CJ, shown on TV from Army House, the downslide started, and the people came out in droves to show their support for the Judge.

This support was mistaken by the establishment, as a success of his persona. Not so, it was indeed the success of his policies, and his avowed independence, which threatened the power of the executive, and the establishment. The people, not only the poor, but all Pakistanis, who needed justice flocked to him for dispensation, and he listened, and acted as best he could. These actions, were considered to impinge directly on the establishment which considered it their own private preserve, inviolate. They had neutered many judges before Judge Chaudri, and so the removal was engineered, using the Intelligence heads as an excuse. The final argument used was 'Sir, after them, he will come for you.' It was not the persona of the judge they resented, but that someone had dared to challenge the Establishment. This as in the good colonial days was impervious to any question, 'for, the King's word was law'.

Every ruler since Ghulam Mohammed has moved to crush the Judiciary. Using the newly invented Doctrine of Necessity, the successive rulers from Ayub, Bhutto, Zia, Benazir 1,and 2, Nawaz 1 and two, - would bend the Courts to their will, each was determined to crush any hint of independence from any judge, and the immediate transfer, or removal was effected. Culminating, in the storming of the Supreme Court. And so if you wanted justice your request had to be routed through the Establishment.

Now, without the obdurate Judge, we have reached a situation, where the elections are being held at the insistence of the US, UN, and the EU, showing the complete bankruptcy of all our politicians who are constantly referring to these Countries for the validation of the election results. This insistence on validation by foreigners is disgraceful, for it shows the complicity of our politicians in the surrender of our sovereignty ( Can you imagine the Indians allowing a foreigner daring to comment on their elections). Here we are inviting them in. It also shows that we Pakistanis have no faith in our judiciary, and therein lies the crux of our problem. The absence of a credible Judiciary. Without which no State can function. By restoring Judge Chaudri, we would be putting into place the cornerstone of our third pillar without which democracy can never take root. We have brought the US into being the main player in Pakistan, ignoring the fact that the US is not the main donor to Pakistan, that honor goes to the Japanese for without their financial assistance we would truly be a failed state. The US support is mainly to the armed forces, and is used to keep us on line, and in line. And yet in this role of munitions supplier, they were found wanting as in '71. They have also been instrumental in the placement and or removal of many of our best leaders Ayub, Bhutto, and now Benazir.

This also shows that we are still not truly independent, and instead we install a surrogate country to whom we subjugate ourselves. We need the Judge back to save us from ourselves.

Musharraf in one stroke will secure for himself, that special place in our history reserved for the greatest leaders of Pakistan. By giving the people a truly independent judiciary.